by Corinne Yank, GoPhil Communications Manager

This morning we received an urgent voice memo from Hellen at GoPhil partner Maji Moto Enkiteng Lepa School in Kenya. The Maji Moto team and students are facing dire circumstances as this global crisis unfolds.

As of April 14th, Kenya has at least 216 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and this number is rising rapidly.

The Enkiteng Lepa School has been closed for some time now, and most of the girls are back home with their families in nearby villages. The government has organized online schooling, but there is no way for the Maji Moto girls to access computers or internet connection. The entire Maji Moto region relies heavily on tourism, so most people in the surrounding villages have completely lost their daily wages. Hellen and the team are doing everything they can to monitor the safety and wellbeing of these students from a safe distance until classes can resume, and to ensure the girls’ and families’ basic needs are met in the meantime. 

Meanwhile, 18 girls of the 86 Maji Moto students are at very high risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and could not safely return home when the school closed. They are being cared for by Hellen and the Maji Moto team at a now-empty tourist camp, with three security guards for safety purposes. Hellen’s primary focus is keeping these girls safe, secure and fed. We could hear the concern in Hellen’s voice as she expressed fear that they will face starvation. All of the local markets and stores have closed, so the only place to get supplies is Narok, which is quite far from them. Not wanting to put anyone else on the team at risk, Hellen travels to the city alone to get supplies and food for all the staff, girls in their care and families in need. 

Below are a few photos of the Maji Moto team and girls at the camp, where Hellen is keeping the girls busy by teaching them to crochet:

There are also several Maji Moto students with preexisting medical conditions that require extra attention and caution. Hellen is worried about the virus infiltrating and the risk to these students. She is trying to get them in for health check ups, but has very limited funds for medical costs.

To date, the local government has not provided any support or emergency relief to Maji Moto or the surrounding communities. 

In response, we are urgently raising USD $5,000 through the GoPhil Rapid Response Fund to support critical needs of Maji Moto students (both those in the care of Maji Moto and those at home with their families) over the next three months to ensure their survival.


* If you make a contribution, please add a note that the funds should be allocated to Maji Moto.

Thank you in advance for your solidarity during this time and consideration of this urgent request.